In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state
or other authority.
The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law
, have any simple and universally accepted definition,
[Farmer, Lindsay: "Crime, definitions of", in Cane and Conoghan (editors), ''The New Oxford Companion to Law'', Oxford University Press, 2008 (), p. 263]
definitions have been provided for certain purposes. The most popular view is that crime is a category
created by law
; in other words, something is a crime if declared as such by the relevant and applicable law.
One proposed definition is that a crime or offence (or criminal offence) is an act harmful not only to some individual but also to a community, society, or the state ("a public wrong
"). Such acts are forbidden and punishable by law.
The notion that acts such as murder
, and theft
are to be prohibited exists worldwide.
What precisely is a criminal offence is defined by criminal law
of each country. While many have a catalogue of crimes called the criminal code
, in some common law
countries no such comprehensive statute exists.
The state (government
) has the power to severely restrict one's liberty
for committing a crime. In modern societies
, there are procedures
to which investigations and trial
s must adhere. If found guilty
, an offender may be sentenced
to a form of reparation such as a community sentence
, or, depending on the nature of their offence, to undergo imprisonment
, life imprisonment
or, in some jurisdiction
Usually, to be classified as a crime, the "act of doing something criminal" (''actus reus
'') mustwith certain exceptions
be accompanied by the "intention to do something criminal" (''mens rea
While every crime violates the law, not every violation of the law
counts as a crime. Breaches of private law
s and breaches of contract
) are not automatically punished by the state, but can be enforced through civil procedure
. The world of crime and criminals is often called "the underworld."
When informal relationships prove insufficient to establish and maintain a desired social order
, a government or a state may impose more formalized or stricter systems of social control
. With institutional and legal machinery at their disposal, agents of the state can compel population
s to conform to codes and can opt to punish or attempt to reform those who do not conform.
Authorities employ various mechanisms to regulate (encouraging or discouraging) certain behaviors in general. Governing or administering agencies may for example codify rules into laws, police citizens and visitors to ensure that they comply with those laws, and implement other policies and practices that legislators or administrators have prescribed with the aim of discouraging or preventing crime
. In addition, authorities provide remedies
, and collectively these constitute a criminal justice
system. Legal sanctions vary widely in their severity; they may include (for example) incarceration of temporary character aimed at reforming the convict
. Some jurisdictions have penal codes written to inflict permanent harsh punishments: legal mutilation
, capital punishment
, or life without parole
Usually, a natural person
perpetrates a crime, but legal persons
may also commit crimes. Historically, several premodern societies believed that non-human animal
s were capable of committing crimes, and prosecuted and punished them accordingly.
The sociologist Richard Quinney
has written about the relationship between society and crime. When Quinney states "crime is a social phenomenon
" he envisages both how individuals conceive crime and how populations perceive it, based on societal norms
The word ''crime'' is derived from the Latin
root , meaning "I decide, I give judgment". Originally the Latin word ''crīmen
'' meant "charge
" or "cry of distress." The Ancient Greek
word , from which the Latin cognate
derives, typically referred to an intellectual mistake or an offense against the community, rather than a private or moral wrong.
In 13th century English
''crime'' meant "sinfulness", according to the Online Etymology Dictionary
. It was probably brought to England as Old French (12th century form of Modern French
''crime''), from Latin ''crimen'' (in the genitive case: ''criminis''). In Latin, ''crimen'' could have signified any one of the following: "charge
; crime, fault
The word may derive from the Latin ''cernere'' – "to decide, to sift" (see crisis
, mapped on Kairos
). But Ernest Klein
(citing Karl Brugmann
) rejects this and suggests *cri-men, which originally would have meant "cry of distress". Thomas G. Tucker suggests a root in "cry
" words and refers to English plaint
, and so on. The meaning "offense punishable by law" dates from the late 14th century. The Latin word is glossed
in Old English by ''facen'', also "deceit, fraud, treachery", f. fake
''Crime wave'' is first attested in 1893 in American English
England and Wales
Whether a given act or omission
constitutes a crime does not depend on the nature of that act or omission; it depends on the nature of the legal consequences that may follow it. An act or omission is a crime if it is capable of being followed by what are called criminal proceedings
[Glanville Williams, ''Learning the Law'', Eleventh Edition, Stevens, 1982, p. 3]
The following definition of ''crime'' was provided by the Prevention of Crimes Act 1871, and applied for the purposes of section 10 of the Prevention of Crime Act 1908:
For the purpose of section 243 of the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992
, a crime means an offence punishable on indictment
, or an offence punishable on summary conviction
, and for the commission of which the offender is liable under the statute
making the offence punishable to be imprisoned either absolutely or at the discretion of the court as an alternative for some other punishment.
A normative definition
views crime as deviant behavior
that violates prevailing normscultural
standards prescribing how humans ought to behave normally. This approach considers the complex realities surrounding the concept of crime and seeks to understand how changing social
, and economic
conditions may affect changing definitions of crime and the form of the legal, law-enforcement
, and penal responses made by society.
realities remain fluid and often contentious. For example: as cultures change and the political environment shifts, societies may criminalise
certain behaviours, which directly affects the statistical crime rate
s, influence the allocation of resources for the enforcement of laws, and (re-)influence the general public opinion
Similarly, changes in the collection and/or calculation of data on crime may affect the public perceptions of the extent of any given "crime problem". All such adjustments to crime statistics
, allied with the experience of people in their everyday lives, shape attitudes on the extent to which the state should use law or social engineering
to enforce or encourage any particular social norm
. Behaviour can be controlled and influenced by a society in many ways without having to resort to the criminal justice system.
Indeed, in those cases where no clear consensus
exists on a given norm, the drafting of criminal law
by the group in power
to prohibit the behaviour of another group may seem to some observers an improper limitation of the second group's freedom
, and the ordinary members of society have less respect for the law or laws in generalwhether the authorities actually enforce the disputed law or not.
s can pass laws (called ''mala prohibita''
) that define crimes against social norms. These laws vary from time to time and from place to place: note variations in gambling
laws, for example, and the prohibition or encouragement of duelling
in history. Other crimes, called ''mala in se''
, count as outlawed in almost all societies, (murder
, for example).
English criminal law
and the related criminal law of Commonwealth
countries can define offences that the courts alone have developed over the years, without any actual legislation: common law offence
s. The courts used the concept of ''malum in se
'' to develop various common law offences.
One can view criminalization as a procedure deployed by society as a preemptive harm-reduction device, using the threat of punishment as a deterrent
to anyone proposing to engage in the behavior causing harm. The state becomes involved because governing entities can become convinced that the costs of not criminalizing (through allowing the harms to continue unabated) outweigh the costs of criminalizing it (restricting individual liberty, for example, to minimize harm to others).
States control the process of criminalization because:
* Even if victims
recognize their own role as victims, they may not have the resources to investigate and seek legal redress for the injuries suffered: the enforcers formally appointed by the state often have better access to expertise and resources.
* The victims may only want compensation for the injuries suffered, while remaining indifferent to a possible desire for deterrence
* Fear of retaliation
may deter victims or witnesses of crimes from taking any action. Even in policed societies, fear may inhibit from reporting incidents or from co-operating in a trial
* Victims, on their own, may lack the economies of scale that could allow them to administer a penal system, let alone to collect any fines levied by a court. Garoupa and Klerman (2002) warn that a rent-seeking
government has as its primary motivation to maximize revenue and so, if offenders have sufficient wealth, a rent-seeking government will act more aggressively than a social-welfare
-maximizing government in enforcing laws against minor crimes (usually with a fixed penalty such as parking and routine traffic violations), but more laxly in enforcing laws against major crimes.
* As a result of the crime, victims may die or become incapacitated.
The label of "crime" and the accompanying social stigma
normally confine their scope to those activities seen as injurious to the general population or to the state, including some that cause serious loss or damage to individuals. Those who apply the labels of "crime" or "criminal" intend to assert the hegemony
of a dominant population, or to reflect a consensus of condemnation for the identified behavior and to justify any punishments prescribed by the state (in the event that standard processing tries
an accused person of a crime).
Justifying the state's use of force
to coerce compliance with its laws has proven a consistent theoretical problem. One of the earliest justifications involved the theory of natural law
. This posits that the nature of the world or of human beings underlies the standards of morality
or constructs them. Thomas Aquinas
wrote in the 13th century: "the rule and measure of human acts is the reason
, which is the first principle of human acts". He regarded people as by nature rational
beings, concluding that it becomes morally appropriate that they should behave in a way that conforms to their rational nature. Thus, to be valid, any law must conform to natural law and coercing people to conform to that law is morally acceptable. In the 1760s, William Blackstone
described the thesis:
: "This law of nature, being co-eval with mankind and dictated by God himself, is of course superior in obligation to any other. It is binding over all the globe, in all countries, and at all times: no human laws are of any validity, if contrary to this; and such of them as are valid derive all their force, and all their authority, mediately or immediately, from this original."
But John Austin
(1790–1859), an early positivist
, applied utilitarianism
in accepting the calculating nature of human beings and the existence of an objective morality. He denied that the legal validity of a norm depends on whether its content conforms to morality. Thus in Austinian terms, a moral code can objectively determine what people ought to do, the law can embody whatever norms the legislature decrees to achieve social utility, but every individual remains free to choose what to do. Similarly, H.L.A. Hart
saw the law as an aspect of sovereignty
, with lawmakers able to adopt any law as a means to a moral end.
Thus the necessary and sufficient conditions for the truth of a proposition of law simply involved internal logic
, and that the state's agents used state power with responsibility
. Ronald Dworkin
rejects Hart's theory and proposes that all individuals should expect the equal respect and concern of those who govern them as a fundamental political right. He offers a theory of compliance overlaid by a theory of deference
(the citizen's duty to obey the law) and a theory of enforcement, which identifies the legitimate goals of enforcement and punishment. Legislation must conform to a theory of legitimacy, which describes the circumstances under which a particular person or group is entitled to make law, and a theory of legislative justice, which describes the law they are entitled or obliged to make.
There are natural-law theorists who have accepted the idea of enforcing the prevailing morality as a primary function of the law. This view entails the problem that it makes any moral criticism of the law impossible: if conformity with natural law forms a necessary condition for legal validity, all valid law must, by definition, count as morally just. Thus, on this line of reasoning, the legal validity of a norm necessarily entails its moral justice.
One can solve this problem by granting some degree of moral relativism
and accepting that norms may evolve over time and, therefore, one can criticize the continued enforcement of old laws in the light of the current norms. People may find such law acceptable, but the use of state power to coerce citizens to comply with that law lacks moral justification. More recent conceptions of the theory characterise crime as the violation of individual rights
Since society considers so many rights as natural (hence the term ''right
'') rather than man-made, what constitutes a crime also counts as natural, in contrast to laws (seen as man-made). Adam Smith
illustrates this view, saying that a smuggler
would be an excellent citizen, "...had not the laws of his country made that a crime which nature never meant to be so."
Natural-law theory therefore distinguishes between "criminality" (which derives from human nature) and "illegality" (which originates with the interests of those in power
). Lawyers sometimes express the two concepts with the phrases ''malum in se
'' and ''malum prohibitum
'' respectively. They regard a "crime ''malum in se''" as inherently criminal; whereas a "crime ''malum prohibitum''" (the argument goes) counts as criminal only because the law has decreed it so.
It follows from this view that one can perform an illegal act without committing a crime, while a criminal act could be perfectly legal. Many Enlightenment
thinkers (such as Adam Smith and the American Founding Fathers
) subscribed to this view to some extent, and it remains influential among so-called classical liberals
Some religious communities regard sin
as a crime; some may even highlight the crime of sin very early in legendary or mythological accounts of originsnote the tale of Adam and Eve
and the theory of original sin
. What one group considers a crime may cause or ignite war or conflict. However, the earliest known civilization
s had codes of law
, containing both civil
and penal rules mixed together, though not always in recorded form.
Ancient Near East
ians produced the earliest surviving written codes. Urukagina
(reigned , short chronology
) had an early code that has not survived; a later king, Ur-Nammu
, left the earliest extant written law system, the Code of Ur-Nammu
(), which prescribed a formal system of penalties for specific cases in 57 articles. The Sumerians later issued other codes, including the "code of Lipit-Ishtar
". This code, from the 20th century BCE, contains some fifty articles, and scholars have reconstructed it by comparing several sources.
Successive legal codes in Babylon
, including the code of Hammurabi
(), reflected Mesopotamia
n society's belief that law derived from the will of the gods
(see Babylonian law
Many states at this time functioned as theocracies
, with codes of conduct largely religious in origin or reference. In the Sanskrit texts of Dharmaśāstra
(), issues such as legal and religious duties, code of conduct, penalties and remedies, etc. have been discussed and forms one of the elaborate and earliest source of legal code.
Sir Henry Maine
studied the ancient codes available in his day, and failed to find any criminal law in the "modern" sense of the word. While modern systems distinguish between offences against the "state" or "community", and offences against the "individual", the so-called penal law of ancient communities did not deal with "crimes" (Latin: ''crimina''), but with "wrongs" (Latin: ''delicta''). Thus the Hellenic laws treated all forms of theft
, and murder as private wrongs, and left action for enforcement up to the victims or their survivors. The earliest systems seem to have lacked formal courts.
Rome and its legacy in Europe
systematized law and applied their system across the Roman Empire
. Again, the initial rules of Roman law
regarded assaults as a matter of private compensation. The most significant Roman law concept involved ''dominion''. The ''pater familias
'' owned all the family and its property (including slaves); the ''pater'' enforced matters involving interference with any property. The ''Commentaries'' of Gaius
(written between 130 and 180 AD) on the Twelve Tables
treated ''furtum'' (in modern parlance: "theft") as a tort
Similarly, assault and violent robbery
as to the ''pater's'' property (so, for example, the rape of a slave could become the subject of compensation to the ''pater'' as having trespassed on his "property"), and breach of such laws created a ''vinculum juris'' (an obligation of law) that only the payment of monetary compensation (modern "damages
") could discharge. Similarly, the consolidated Teutonic laws
of the Germanic tribes
, included a complex system of monetary compensations for what courts would consider the complete range of criminal offences against the person, from murder down.
Even though Rome abandoned its Britannic provinces
around 400 AD, the Germanic mercenarieswho had largely become instrumental in enforcing Roman rule in Britanniaacquired ownership of land there and continued to use a mixture of Roman and Teutonic Law, with much written down under the early Anglo-Saxon kings
. But only when a more centralized English monarchy emerged following the Norman invasion
, and when the kings of England attempted to assert power over the land and its peoples, did the modern concept emerge, namely of a crime not only as an offence against the "individual", but also as a wrong against the "state".
This idea came from common law
, and the earliest conception of a criminal act involved events of such major significance that the "state" had to usurp the usual functions of the civil tribunals, and direct a special law or ''privilegium'' against the perpetrator. All the earliest English criminal trials involved wholly extraordinary and arbitrary courts without any settled law to apply, whereas the civil (delictual) law operated in a highly developed and consistent manner (except where a king wanted to raise money by selling a new form of writ
). The development of the idea that the "state" dispenses justice
in a court only emerges in parallel with or after the emergence of the concept of sovereignty
In continental Europe, Roman law persisted, but with a stronger influence from the Christian Church.
Coupled with the more diffuse political structure based on smaller feudal units, various legal traditions emerged, remaining more strongly rooted in Roman jurisprudence
, but modified to meet the prevailing political climate
In Scandinavia the effect of Roman law did not become apparent until the 17th century, and the courts grew out of the ''things
''the assemblies of the people. The people decided the cases (usually with largest freeholders dominating). This system later gradually developed into a system with a royal judge nominating a number of the most esteemed men of the parish as his board, fulfilling the function of "the people" of yore.
From the Hellenic
system onwards, the policy rationale for requiring the payment of monetary compensation for wrongs committed has involved the avoidance of feud
ing between clan
s and families
If compensation could mollify families' feelings, this would help to keep the peace. On the other hand, the institution of oaths also played down the threat of feudal warfare
. Both in archaic Greece and in medieval Scandinavia
, an accused person walked free if he could get a sufficient number of male relatives to swear him not guilty. (Compare the United Nations Security Council
, in which the veto
power of the permanent members ensures that the organization does not become involved in crises where it could not enforce its decisions.)
These means of restraining private feud
s did not always work, and sometimes prevented the fulfillment of justice. But in the earliest times the "state" did not always provide an independent policing force. Thus criminal law grew out of what 21st-century lawyers would call torts; and, in real terms, many acts and omissions classified as crimes actually overlap with civil-law concepts.
The development of sociological
thought from the 19th century onwards prompted some fresh views on crime and criminality, and fostered the beginnings of criminology
as a study of crime in society. Nietzsche
noted a link between crime and creativity
in ''The Birth of Tragedy
'' he asserted: "The best and brightest that man can acquire he must obtain by crime". In the 20th century, Michel Foucault
in ''Discipline and Punish
'' made a study of criminalization
as a coercive method of state control.
Classification and categorisation
Categorisation by type
The following classes of offences are used, or have been used, as legal terms:
* Offence against the person
[For example, by the Visiting Forces Act 1952]
* Violent offence
[For example, by section 31(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991, and by the Criminal Justice Act 2003]
* Sexual offence
* Offence against property
Researchers and commentators have classified crimes into the following categories, in addition to those above:
* Firearms and offensive weapons
* Offences against the state/offences against the Crown and Government, or political offences
* Harmful or dangerous drugs
* Offences against religion
and public worship
* Offences against public justice, or offences against the administration of public justice
* Public order offence
, financial market
s and insolvency
* Offences against public morals
and public policy
* Motor vehicle offences
to commit crime
* Inchoate offence
* Juvenile delinquency
* Victimless crime
Categorisation by penalty
One can categorise crimes depending on the related punishment, with sentencing tariff
s prescribed in line with the perceived seriousness of the offence. Thus fines
and noncustodial sentences may address the crimes seen as least serious, with lengthy imprisonment or (in some jurisdictions) capital punishment
reserved for the most serious.
Under the common law of England, crimes were classified as either treason
, with treason sometimes being included with the felonies. This system was based on the perceived seriousness of the offence. It is still used in the United States but the distinction between felony and misdemeanour is abolished in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
Classification by mode of trial
The following classes of offence are based on mode of trial
* Indictable-only offence
* Indictable offence
* Hybrid offence
, a.k.a. either-way offence in England and Wales
* Summary offence
, a.k.a. infraction
in the US
Classification by origin
In common law countries, crimes may be categorised into common law offences
offences. In the US, Australia and Canada (in particular), they are divided into federal crime
s and under state crimes.
* Arrestable offence
In the United States since 1930, the FBI
has tabulated Uniform Crime Reports
(UCR) annually from crime data submitted by law enforcement
agencies across the United States
Officials compile this data at the city, county, and state
levels into the UCR. They classify violations of laws based on common law
as Part I (index) crimes in UCR data. These are further categorized as violent or property crimes. Part I violent crimes include murder and criminal homicide (voluntary manslaughter), forcible rape, aggravated assault, and robbery; while Part I property crimes include burglary, arson, larceny/theft, and motor-vehicle theft. All other crimes count come under Part II.
For convenience, such lists usually include infractions
although, in the U.S., they may come into the sphere not of the criminal law, but rather of the civil law
. Compare tort
s require detention for a time-frame ranging 1 to 24 hours.
Reports, studies and organizations
There are several national and International organizations offering studies and statistics about global and local crime activity, such as United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime
, the United States of America Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC
) safety report or national reports generated by the law-enforcement authorities of EU state member reported to the Europol
Offence in common law jurisdictions
In England and Wales, as well as in Hong Kong, the term ''offence'' means the same thing as, and is interchangeable with, the term ''crime
They are further split into:
* Summary offence
* Indictable offence
Causes and correlates of crime
Many different causes and correlates of crime
have been proposed with varying degree of empirical support. They include socioeconomic, psychological, biological, and behavioral factors. Controversial topics include media violence research
and effects of gun politics
Emotional state (both chronic and current) have a tremendous impact on individual thought processes and, as a result, can be linked to criminal activities. The positive psychology concept of Broaden and Build posits that cognitive functioning expands when an individual is in a good-feeling emotional state and contracts as emotional state declines. In positive emotional states an individual is able to consider more possible solutions to problems, but in lower emotional states fewer solutions can be ascertained. The narrowed thought-action repertoires can result in the only paths perceptible to an individual being ones they would never use if they saw an alternative, but if they can't conceive of the alternatives that carry less risk they will choose one that they can see. Criminals who commit even the most horrendous of crimes, such as mass murders, did not see another solution.
[Baumeister, R.F. (2012). Human Evil: The myth of pure evil and the true causes of violence. In A.P. Association, M. Mikulincer, & P.R. Shaver (Eds.), The social psychology of morality: Exploring the causes of good and evil (pp. 367–380). Washington, DC]
Crimes in international law
Crimes defined by treaty
as crimes against international law include:
* Crimes against peace
* Crimes of apartheid
* Forced disappearance
*Incitement to genocide
* Sexual slavery
* Waging a war of aggression
* War crime
From the point of view of state-centric law, extraordinary procedures (international court
s or national courts operating with universal jurisdiction
) may prosecute such crimes. Note the role of the International Criminal Court
at The Hague
in the Netherlands
Religion and crime
Different religious traditions may promote distinct norms of behaviour, and these in turn may clash or harmonise with the perceived interests of a state. Socially accepted or imposed religious morality has influenced secular jurisdictions on issues that may otherwise concern only an individual's conscience. Activities sometimes criminalized on religious grounds include (for example) alcohol
research. In various historical and present-day societies, institutionalized religions have established systems of earthly justice that punish crimes against the divine will and against specific devotional, organizational and other rules under specific codes, such as Roman Catholic canon law
Military jurisdictions and states of emergency
In the military
sphere, authorities can prosecute both regular crimes and specific acts (such as mutiny
) under martial-law
codes that either supplant or extend civil codes in times of (for example) war.
Many constitutions contain provisions to curtail freedoms and criminalize otherwise tolerated behaviors under a state of emergency
in the event of war, natural disaster or civil unrest. Undesired activities at such times may include assembly
in the streets, violation of curfew
, or possession of firearms
Two common types of employee
crime exist: embezzlement
and wage theft
The complexity and anonymity of computer systems may help criminal employees camouflage their operations. The victims of the most costly scams
include banks, brokerage houses, insurance companies, and other large financial institutions.
Sara Baase, ''A Gift of Fire: Social, Legal, and Ethical Issues for Computing and The Internet''. Third Ed. "Employee Crime" (2008)
In the United States, it is estimated that workers are not paid at least $19 billion every year in overtime
and that in total $40 billion to $60 billion are lost annually due to all forms of wage theft.
This compares to national annual losses of $340 million due to robbery
, $4.1 billion due to burglary
, $5.3 billion due to larceny
, and $3.8 billion due to auto theft
* Crime displacement
* Crime science
* Federal Crime
* Law and order (politics)
* National Museum of Crime & Punishment
in Washington DC
* Organized crime
* :Category:Age of criminal responsibility
References and further reading
* Attenborough, F.L. (ed. and trans.) (1922)''The Laws of the Earliest English Kings''
Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
. Reprint March 2006The Lawbook Exchange, Ltd.
* Blythe, James M. (1992). ''Ideal Government and the Mixed Constitution in the Middle Ages''. Princeton: Princeton University Press
* Cohen, Stanley (1985). ''Visions of Social Control: Crime, Punishment, and Classification''. Polity Press.
* Foucault, Michel
(1975). ''Discipline and Punish: the Birth of the Prison'', New York: Random House.
* Garoupa, Nuno & Klerman, Daniel. (2002). "Optimal Law Enforcement with a Rent-Seeking Government". ''American Law and Economics Review'' Vol. 4, No. 1. pp. 116–140.
* Hart, H.L.A. (1972). ''Law, Liberty and Morality''. Stanford: Stanford University Press
* Hitchins, Peter. ''A Brief History of Crime
'' (2003) 2nd edition was issued as ''he Abolition of Liberty: The Decline of Order and Justice in England'' (2004)
* Kalifa, Dominique. ''Vice, Crime, and Poverty: How the Western Imagination Invented the Underworld'' (Columbia University Press, 2019)
* Kern, Fritz. (1948). ''Kingship and Law in the Middle Ages''. Reprint edition (1985), Westport, Conn.: Greenwood Press.
* Kramer, Samuel Noah. (1971). ''The Sumerians: Their History, Culture, and Character''. Chicago: University of Chicago
* Maine, Henry Sumner. (1861). ''Ancient Law: Its Connection with the Early History of Society, and Its Relation to Modern Ideas''. Reprint edition (1986). Tucson: University of Arizona Press
* Oppenheim, A. Leo (and Reiner, Erica as editor). (1964). ''Ancient Mesopotamia: Portrait of a Dead Civilization''. Revised edition (September 15, 1977). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
* Pennington, Kenneth. (1993). ''The Prince and the Law, 1200–1600: Sovereignty and Rights in the Western Legal Tradition''. Berkeley: University of California Press
* Polinsky, A. Mitchell. (1980). "Private versus Public Enforcement of Fines". ''The Journal of Legal Studies'', Vol. IX, No. 1, (January), pp. 105–127.
* Polinsky, A. Mitchell & Shavell, Steven. (1997). On the Disutility and Discounting of Imprisonment and the Theory of Deterrence
', NBER Working Papers 6259, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
* Skaist, Aaron Jacob. (1994). ''The Old Babylonian Loan Contract: Its History and Geography''. Ramat Gan
: Bar-Ilan University
Théry, Julien. (2011). "Atrocitas/enormitas. Esquisse pour une histoire de la catégorie de 'crime énorme' du Moyen Âge à l'époque moderne", Clio@Themis, Revue électronique d'histoire du droit, n. 4
* Tierney, Brian. (1979). ''Church Law and Constitutional Thought in the Middle Ages''. London: Variorum Reprints.
* Vinogradoff, Paul. (1909). ''Roman Law in Medieval Europe''. Reprint edition (2004). Kessinger Publishing Co.